As the NDP revealed documents showing skyrocketing hydro bills in Ontario hospitals, the Liberal government was forced to admit that hospitals will see almost no relief under Premier Kathleen Wynne’s $40-billion borrowing approach.
“Health care is at a tipping point in Ontario,' said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. 'There have already been frontline workers laid off at many hospitals, and with skyrocketing hydro bills, hospitals are being squeezed tighter. Now, Wynne’s government has admitted that hospitals will see almost no relief from skyrocketing hydro costs under the premier’s scheme.”
According to documents the NDP obtained via access to information laws:
- Toronto’s University Health Network has seen a $6 million cost hike to its hydro bills, or 39 per cent, over six years
- Hamilton’s St. Joseph’s Healthcare has seen hydro costs increase by $4.16 million, or 105 per cent, in just six years
- London Health Sciences Centre has seen hydro costs increase by nearly $2 million, or 29 per cent, even though their consumption dropped over the past six years
- Toronto’s Sinai Health System is paying $1.45 million more, a 48 per cent increase in five years
- Toronto East Michael Garron Hospital has seen a $1.3 million hike on its hydro bills, or 67 per cent, in six years
- Windsor Regional Hospital’s Met Campus has seen a $880,000 hydro bill increase, or 49 per cent, in five years
Although no plan by the Wynne government has been made public, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault was forced to admit in Question Period on Tuesday that hospitals will only “see a modest reduction between 2 per cent and 4 per cent.”
“Health care workers are doing the best they can, but they're being asked to do more with less by Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government,' said Horwath. “Wait times are already too long. Staff are already run off their feet. These hydro bills are part of the problem, pushing hospitals to the breaking point. The Liberal approach will do nothing to help our hospitals.”
Horwath has released an NDP plan to cut hydro bills by as much as 30 per cent for all hydro customers, which includes returning Hydro One to public hands – a move that will return an additional $7 billion to the province which can be invested in Ontario services like hospitals. The NDP plan will also offer immediate relief with actions like eliminating time-of-use billing.
The Conservative party has not released a position or plan, but previously supported the selloff of Hydro One.